algae to create biodegradable water bottles

product design student Ari Jónsson has combined red algae powder with water to create a biodegradable bottle.

Jónsson – who studies at the Iceland Academy of the Arts – exhibited the project during this year’s Reykjavik design festival DesignMarch from 10 to 13 March 2016.

After reading about the amount of waste plastic produced every day, the designer felt an “urgent” need to develop a replacement material.

“I read that 50 per cent of plastic is used once and then thrown away so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Jónsson told Dezeen. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”

Algae water bottle by Ari Jonsson

He began studying the strengths and weaknesses of different materials to determine what could be suitable for use as a water bottle. Eventually he came across a powdered form of agar, a substance made from algae.

When agar powder is added to water, it forms a jelly-like material. After experimenting to find the right proportions, Jónsson slowly heated the substance before pouring it into a bottle-shaped mould that had been kept in the freezer.